Friday, September 14, 2012

16,000 healthcare staff to get salary increase from September

SINGAPORE: 16,000 public healthcare administrative, ancillary and support staff will see a salary increase of between four and 10 per cent from September.

This comes after a review of healthcare staff salaries by the Health Ministry and the healthcare clusters.

By 2014, 2,000 of these staff can expect a wage increase of between 10 and 20 per cent through a progressive wage model.

The model has been developed to help lower wage workers attain sustainable wage increases through productivity, training and job redesign.

It will focus on three key groups -- health attendants, healthcare assistants and patient service associates.

These announcements were made at the launch of the Healthcare Cluster Tripartite Workgroup.

The tripartite partners comprise the Health Ministry, six public healthcare clusters and NTUC's healthcare clusters of unions.

Mr Wong Koon Khian, who is working as a health attendant under the Central Sterile Supply Department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, is one of those who will benefit from the salary review.

"I'm very happy my hard work has paid off," said Mr Wong.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said public healthcare support staff, like Mr Wong, plays a crucial role.

Mr Gan said: "From registration, to catering, preparation of the operating theatre, appointment booking and providing corporate services… the rising expectation for public healthcare services means that the work of our administrative, ancillary and support staff has become more demanding and more complex."

A progressive wage model has also been developed by the workgroup to increase the salaries of lower-wage workers in two years' time by 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

The model will focus on three main groups - Health Attendants, Healthcare Assistants and Patient Service Associates.

Healthcare Cluster Tripartite Workgroup's co-chairman Patrick Tay, said: "These three groups of workers are generally earning less than S$1,700. I think there's quite a sizable group of them and we are setting our sights on impacting these groups and not just in one or two hospitals but across the entire healthcare clusters.

Mr Tay said these workers can expect better pay through initiatives that include the greater use of assistive devices and job redesign.

For example, Mr Wong himself broadened his job scope of just manual duties by undergoing training in a sterilisation course in 2008. He was re-designated as a Central Sterile Supply Department Assistant with a salary range of S$1,000 to S$2,000.

The workgroup hopes that these initiatives will encourage more to join the healthcare sector.

A total of 35,000 workers are expected to be hired in the next eight years.

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